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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Europe Trip - London

My wife and I visited Europe for a short vacation. In the span of 9 days, we visited London, Rome and Paris. The "Europe Trip" series of Blogs will talk about our travel experiences and any useful tips that I might have to share.

In this post, i shall talk about the London leg of our tour.

(1). We stayed at our friend Anand's place in Central London. Going by the real estate prices in London, I must say that London is terribly expensive. Nevertheless, i thank Anand for putting us up in a swank apartment in Central London.

(2). We visited a LOT of places during our 2 days there - shown here through some photos:

Tower of London

Tower Bridge

Westminister, Big Ben, Westminister Abbey

St. Paul's Cathedral

Buckhingham Palace

Soho, Trafalgar Square, Piccadaly Circus, Leicester Square

(3). The Tube is a very efficient means of transport IF you don't have to carry around any luggage :). This is one thing that we realized in the whole of Europe - they are not very "handicap-friendly". For example, to go from 1 train to another, you would have to go up some stairs and then some down and then finally catch the train. It is doable without luggage but it takes a while to get used to it :).

(4). Chicken Tikka Masala is by-far the most common Indian dish. In fact, this is a menu item even in bars and side-joints.

(5). I was amazed by the amount of alcohol that people consume here. Anand was telling me that in his office, no one works after 5 - they head straight to the bars for a mug of beer and a game of football (soccer).

(6). I realized that soccer was far more popular in England than cricket. I saw 4 pages of coverage for football but only a tiny section for cricket in the Times.

(7). London definitely has a great night life. We stayed up late one night at Trafalgar square, Piccadaly Circus and the adjoining areas - boy! - the mood was just festive throughout the time. Loud music, lots of people, lots of eating places - it reminded you of Times Square to a certain extent. SFO on the other hand sleeps at 11:00 :(.

(8). A quick point regarding the airports - London has a lot of airports - Luton, Gatwick, Stansed and of course Heathrow. If you plan to take any cheap flights out of London, then it will most probably be out of one of these smaller airports - we flew out of Luton to Rome, for instance. Make sure that you arrange for appropriate transportation if your flight is at weird times - there are a lot of private buses/coaches that leave from Central London that go to these airports. We used the Green Line coach to catch the early flight from Luton.

Next up - Our Roma Trip ! - stay tuned.

-- Thyaga

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